There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Four letter words....

As we were going into Home Depot last weekend, we saw this cool snow thrower with a cab thingy attached to the front. I would love to have one of those....we snapped a few pictures....laughing....hahahaha....see Steve smiling on the far right?
See me laughing behind the cab? Funny, really funny. Watch the video below.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Abelardo Balderrama

Stay with me here.....maybe someone can help me out....

There is a diner in the little town of Dover called The Dish. On the wall leading to the bathrooms is a long string hanging between two nails. On that string are old photos attached with clothespins. I love looking at those old photos and thought I was clever enough to replicate the look at home. I still have a lot of old family photos and thought I would dress the look up by using a ribbon rather than a string. Umm, it doesn't look as quaint as the string of photos at The Dish.

While looking for just the right photos of my family, I found for probably the 1000th time, old photos and letters of/from a man named Abelardo Balderrama. They are addressed to both of my parents and the early letters have salutations of Mr. and Mrs. Lucas. They range in date from 1943 to 1945. The photos and letters were sent during Abelardo's time in the Army during WWII.

Abelardo is/was a very polite, well written, nice man....I can absolutely tell from his letters. He had a great sense of humor and was obviously fond of my parents. I can also tell from his responses that there are a lot of missing letters to my folks......I received your three letters and I have only written two back. I'm sorry.

Some excerpts from his letters will give you a flavor of Abelardo's personality.

Am I happy today! Yesterday I graduated from school and received my aerial gunners wings along with a Staff Sergeants rating. That means a paycheck of $96 a month plus flying pay. Boy, oh boy!

I am currently stationed at Tullahoma, Tennessee. I know what Noah felt when he saw it rain for 40 days and nights. The town is just a wide place in the road.

I am currently stationed at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It rains down here every night and the mosquitoes are awful. The women all wear shorts because of the heat during the day. Sometimes I wish I was a mosquito.

It's difficult to write anything interesting from here......but I cannot so excuse my letters if they are laconic and uninteresting. I have also felt weak in the knees at times....but so far I have been more than lucky.
This was written from Italy 1944.

So.....I was telling Steve about Abelardo and he said: Just go online and look the guy up. You should be able to find out all kinds of stuff about him.

Sorry, Steve. Not so easy. I have spent days trying to find any line...straight, curved, broken, potholed...anything that would lead me to find out what happened to Abelardo Balderrama after that last letter in early 1945.

I was able to find his enlistment stats on a government site. I have his Army serial number, birth state, enlistment place, year of birth and the fact that he was a high school graduate and was a waiter before he enlisted. This leads me to think he met my mom and dad at Pat's cafe where my mom worked....this is also the place where I think my mom and dad met. Perhaps Abelardo was a waiter there. He also mentions in one of the letters another woman, Kay Chapman, who was a good friend of my mother's and worked with her at Pat's.

Most of the sites I found online want $$ to search for someone. Of course, there is no promise that a $29.95 search price (for one person only) will actually turn up anything about my Abelardo Balderrama. I was tempted to join the Ancestry site. So, I called my cousin in Virginia that had used that site to find my mother's family thinking she was still enrolled...but she no longer has a subscription.

I think Abelardo was a handsome, intelligent man. I like to think he married when he was discharged (I hope he was discharged and not killed in the war). I hope he had a family and that there might be children, grandchildren and great grandchildren looking for something of their loved one online and they will stumble upon this post. I would love to give Abelardo Balderrama's family these photos and letters. Anyone out there remember Abelardo Balderrama?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy, happy my sweet little girl.

Another year, another birthday for my sweet girl. Yesterday was her birthday.

She went to work, she had a quiet day, she celebrated at home. She will be here the 30th for a long weekend visit and we will celebrate then with sushi and a few fun filled days. I won't update her age because....well, she is actually 39 again.

I love you Christine Marie. I posted this last year....she has only grown more beautiful, more special.

My daughter is 45 today. I debated about putting her age in this post. But, as I was thinking about what I wanted to say about her I was struck by the fact that she is one of the most self confident, comfortable with herself, beautiful and charming women I have ever I don't think she will care.

Of course she was an adorable baby. Of course she was a darling toddler. Of course she grew into a beautiful teenager and as you can see and I will tell you, she is now all of that beauty plus intelligent, humorous, tolerant, giving, loving and just a perfect daughter. I love this child beyond any words I have now or ever will have.

All of my children grew up in a home filled with dysfunction. All of my children lacked a mother protector, but Christine suffered the most because of it. She has overcome some of life's most difficult issues and come out a self made winner. She has accomplished in her short 45 years what others will never see or do. She is a survivor. I am amazed by her every day. She is the wife and mother I should have been.

That she loves me is one of the four blessings in my life.

Here she is in high school....naturally curly hair and glasses. In the next picture, as she is today.
After one of her multi-yearly walks for breast cancer. She has raised close to 5 figures for this cause.
She gave me my first grandchild....Christopher.
She is a wonderful wife to Todd who would tell you in a flash she has made him a better man. She has supported my grandson Tyler in every way and it shows in his accomplishments.

And......see this dog? Lucy. Chris has 3 Boston Terriers. Steve calls them the ugliest dogs he has ever seen. Chris loves this dog like her child. Over the years she has rescued several dogs and has an open door policy for all of the neighborhood dogs.

Happy, happy birthday my sweet girl.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's time for the Annual Tour of North Idaho Mailboxes!!!

After receiving numerous requests (OK, Barb requested it) I decided to spend days and days (seriously) driving all over Bonner County once again trying to capture the flavor of North Idaho mailboxes.

Last year I made predictions about the pictured mailboxes surviving the winter and the plow drivers. This year will be different. I have put the mailboxes into categories mainly because I can't remember where any of last years mailboxes are so I don't know if they survived or not.

In order to be fair I have to start by showing the current state of my neighbor's mailbox. We share the post structure. I am embarrassed beyond words to have this....this to my mailbox. I will be talking to Luke and Amy. They must replace their mailbox. I have a reputation to uphold.

Exhibit one: Luke and Amy's mailbox. Yellow alert flag doesn't go up anymore.

This is a closeup......sad, sad, sad. I may have to buy them a mailbox. This is really not good.

First category: Odd ball mailboxes.

Shoes on the rail? Really? Really. They don't seem to be keeping the paper and mail boxes on the rail do they.

I can't decide if these are camo or zebra boxes. Whatever they are....they're ugly.
Who says GM doesn't make cars that last. I love this one.
The US Forest Service at Sam Owen State Park gets mail. Sam Owen is dead BTW.

Category two: Wanna be dinosaur mailboxes; self explanatory.

This is my favorite one. The box itself has flowers painted on it. It's the mailbox for a daycare. I bet the kids painted the box and I also bet they are scared to pieces by the whole structure.

Category three: Hansel & Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood mailboxes.

Cutesy wootesy.

I bet a painted gnome lives in this mailbox....I think I see eyes.

See....all wrapped up in wood so the big bad wolf can't blow this house down. Wait a minute....does that have a removable lid?

Category four: Playing nicely and sharing space mailboxes.

No, I was not holding the camera at an odd angle.

The top of this mailbox structure was raised so the mail person could reach the boxes...raised on wood blocks that are just placed there.....I can hardly wait to see this one after the first time the plow driver comes through.

The industrial look.

Category five: Mailbox structures with gizmos. You really need to click to enlarge....all of these are interesting.

This one is a dragon....very creative.

I'm not sure what all of this stuff is. The blue glass things used to be on power poles and are collectibles now.

I'm thinking this is a car thingy of some sort.

Woodsy, gizmos, little creatures.....a little bit of everything. That is the scariest angel I have ever seen.

Another car whatever I think.......but it looks too big to fit in a car...maybe it is a pump part.

Last category: The sad, unloved, forgotten mailboxes.
This box was on top of a post that was in the white bucket with rocks to keep it upright. Now....relegated to a piece of wood on top of a falling down fence....not even attached to anything. Sniff.

While this is good use of a fallen tree.....the mailbox is an afterthought. Sniff, snork.
A water heater strap used to keep this box on the cheesy is that....being a good mailbox reporter I tested this one....the box slides out of the strap because that black brace on the back of the box is not attached to the post.

A hanging chad.....

Nose dive......

Backward flip with a twist.....
Old post, new post, lopsided shelf, paper box on a bent bracket, mailbox on the way into the ditch.
Abandoned by a post in sight....I'm going to send this one to the mailbox rescue shelter where maybe it will be the lucky one adopted.

This is just an extra.....because I like it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

He remembered....

Hi Mom,

I tried to post a comment but I need to have some kind of special user name or account. So I just wrote this separately and attached it.

Love you,


One of my earliest childhood memories was of going to the public library with my mom. I must have been 3 or 4 years old and not in kindergarten yet. I don't remember how often we went but when we did I would immediately head to the children's section and get my favorite book, Where the Wild Things Are. I vividly remember sitting at the small children sized tables for what seemed like hours losing myself in the world of Max and the Wild Things. I do not think I could even read at the time but the characters in the story were fascinating to me and told countless stories beyond the printed words on the pages.

I never owned the book as a child and I really don't remember checking the book out of the library but I knew I loved it and I couldn't wait to go back to library to “read” it again. I can’t remember my mom reading the book to me but I’m sure she did. She read lot’s of books to me as child. Another one of my favorites was The Monster at the End of This Book, a Sesame Steet book starring loveable, furry, old Grover.

Where The Wild Things Are is the first book I can remember reading on my own and it brings back many love filled childhood memories of times I spent with my mom. It was the first of many other book covers opened by me out of the science fiction/fantasy genre. I don’t read as much as I used to but I have been known in recent times to plow through a good book in a couple of days.

I still have the stuffed Monsters, including Max. They are now in my 4 year old son’s room, after having spent time previously in my now 7 year old daughter’s room. Both know and love the book well. Perhaps not as much as the 4 year old sitting at the short tables in the library but enough to know that getting lost in another world for a short time with your mom or dad is something very special.

I will take my family to see the movie and hope it is as every bit as wonderful as the book. But, for me, it doesn’t really matter because while everyone else is sitting in the dark watching a movie, I will be 4 again, sitting at the short table with my mom reading a wonderful story with amazing pictures and knowing without question that she loves me.

Thanks Mom,


Love you to pieces my sweet little boy, mom

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kid stuff...Dear Gil.

There is a movie coming out this weekend. Where The Wild Things Are will be in theaters Friday. The book, by Maurice Sendak, was my youngest son's favorite read. I don't remember reading the book to Gil....I hope I did. Do you remember if I did, Gil? I do remember the story of Max...a boy who is unhappy with his mother; a boy who feels unloved; a boy that runs away. I wonder now how much Gil identified with Max. Can you tell me now, Gil?

I remember buying him the stuffed animals from the story. He kept them on his bed for a long time. But, I think I got them for him when he was a teenager.

I wish Gil was six again. I wish I was taking him to see this movie. I know he will see it. I hope it brings back good childhood memories for him; he has very few of those thanks to me. Maybe he will take Sachi and Spencer to see it. Maybe he will tell them how much he loved the book. Maybe he still has those stuffed animals somewhere and will show them to his children.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Oatmeal and mush

We took the doggies on an adventure yesterday. We drove to Farragut State Park. After 21 years of living off and on and then full time in Idaho, we saw Farragut for the first time. While it is a part of the State Park system now, during WW ll it was a Naval training area and brig. Steve's dad was stationed there for his training and he had been invited to a memorial dedication in September 2006. We had plane tickets for him and were really excited about having him visit Idaho, but he was ill and couldn't come and passed away that December.

Farragut is a beautiful, peaceful area filled with huge pine and fir trees. Of course, it is off season so we had the whole place to ourselves. While the camping areas were closed off, the memorial and some of the community event areas were open.

It was clear and 54 degrees yesterday, but there was a brutal wind.....we nearly froze our fingers off. Violet and Petey acted like idiots....Violet always does when she is on a leash and Petey probably never had his California paws on anything so cold. His nose was in overdrive....and then there was the small incident with a chipmunk.

This is a view of lake Pend Oreille and an area where Mountain Goats have been seen (on the opposite side of the lake).

This is a view of the brig. It is the only structure left of the Naval Base. We were able to peek inside a window and it looks like there is a long common area with the cells on all four sides of the room
This is the monument that was dedicated September 8, 2006. It is a really unique bronze cast. The Sailor's head is positioned in a structure that is the bow of a boat.

The entire head has images of sailors...and you can tell the different ethnicity....African American, American Indian, some have glasses, but all of the faces are different.
Here is the inscription on the back of the monument.
So, after we got home we were really tired and went to bed early. It gets dark at about 7 so we waited a respectable amount of time and hit the pillows at 8.

3:30 in the morning Steve wakes me up....."Honey, hurry and look out the's snowing." And sure enough it looked like a snow globe outside....and the wind was once again blowing like crazy. We went out on the balcony like a couple of country bumpkins to watch the wonder of snow in October.

I didn't get outside until almost 10 this morning and there were only a few little patches of snow beads left, but here they are in all of their white, cold, October glory.